0:00

“Mott” Lovejoy, interviewed in his home in Sixmile, Bibb County, Alabama, by J. Brown on January 25, 1979. Showed him the pump-drill to tell him how I was trying to trace popular customs, he brought out some arrowheads of quartz he’d dug up in the garden; tape picks up soon thereafter.

JIM BROWN: The history of just plain folks is what interests me a lot more. How everybody got by, instead of just a few.

MOTT LOVEJOY: It wasn’t only the Indians that had things like this. Now people back, I’d say, well back in my daddy and your daddy’s lifetime, they had to cope with just such stuff as this to survive. And I know we did.

JIM BROWN: I talked to my grandad here a while back. And he’s gotten real old now, pretty feeble. He’s got to thinking about what he’s seen in his lifetime. He was born back when there wasn’t a car, wasn’t any such thing. Not even the idea of a car.

MOTT LOVEJOY: I remember when there was just, maybe just one car in the whole community.

JIM BROWN: People would run around and see them.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: He’s seen the going to the moon, and TV, all these kinds of things. It’s a real revolution.

JIM BROWN: Anyway, I was wanting to get on this snaring redhorse thing. I got kind of an idea of how it’s done from the other Mr. Lovejoy.

1:00

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, he’s been at it a long time.

JIM BROWN: but he kept telling me, said, now I’m forgetting, and you go to see Mott, he’s up on it.

MOTT LOVEJOY: I do lots of it.

JIM BROWN: You still do it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, try to.

JIM BROWN: In the first place let me start asking you about when it started. You say your daddy (brother of Mr. Morgan Lovejoy, two years older than Morgan) did it back in 1913. Is that date – just stand out in this mind, or he told you that was when he…

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. Well he was born way on back in 1893, I believe, I’m not sure.

JIM BROWN: He started doing this when he got over to Bulldog Bend?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Right there at Bulldog Bend is where they did it.

JIM BROWN: He moved in there, didn’t he? He wasn’t born there?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, he was born – well, he wasn’t born right there. He was born at a little old place called Randolph.

JIM BROWN: But born in this same county.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Oh yeah, this same country.

2:00

JIM BROWN: Did he learn to do this at Bulldog Bend?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: You remember how he learned it or where he learned it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, I don’t remember who he got it from.

JIM BROWN: Did lots of people around do it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, and it’s just become more and more popular every year. And now it’s got to going the other way, you don’t see many folks doing it no more. Course, I don’t try to encourage the (laughter), interfere with my fishing. Anybody came along and ask you about it, a lot of people won’t go look for himself, see, and hunt them. They’ll tell you, say, when you find them, let me know, see. In other words, they’re not going to drive and lose sleep and walk.

JIM BROWN: That’s the real work in it, I guess is finding them.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. Uncle Morgan says, that’s a penitentiary offense, to tell that. That’s what he used to tell people. He wouldn’t tell them. Course after you walk yourself to death and lose sleep and burn up your gas, and stuff, hunting them, there’s no point telling everybody – no. They’re on the big 3:00Cahaba, too. A lot – oh my, a lot larger on big Cahaba than on this one.

JIM BROWN: How big a fish do they get?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well I’ve seen one weighed 9 pounds.

JIM BROWN: Oh you have. Off the big river?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, it came off the big – no he didn’t, he come off the little river. I was about, I guess, fifteen years old. Daddy and me fished at that thing all night trying to catch him, and we couldn’t. Every time we’d start to catch him, he’d back up under some bushes. There was a bunch of people there that night, and Dad and me just give out, and so we laid down to go to sleep, woke up the next morning, and this old boy was laying there about half-sloughed, I call it. When I woke up, he’d been up there and caught him, and was letting the water drip off his tail in my face, you know. He’d slipped up there and caught him. Daddy and me had fished at him all night, and couldn’t catch him.

JIM BROWN: Nine pounds?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

4:00

JIM BROWN: When you say a bunch of people fishing, how many people was fishing?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Oh they was half-dozen there, I guess, round the car.

JIM BROWN: They were all from around here?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: And they all fishing that one hole?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: These sucker come up and they bed in one hole?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, just one place, mostly. Well they, it’s not, no…They’ll bed from one end of this river to the other. But most of the time there’s just a bed, maybe, half as big as this room (room maybe fourteen feet on a side). And you can catch, oh man, no telling how many right there. And they just come for, it’ll be the onliest place for a mile they’ll bed, and they’ll come from all, from both ways there, see. And man, they’ll just fill it up.

JIM BROWN: So you just work that pretty good, eh?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: Shoot.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Till they get wild, and then you’ll go to another place.

JIM BROWN: These half dozen people that you said was around, are they all from around this area?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: Yeah. They were friends, you knew all these folks?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, uncles. This fellow wasn’t related to me that caught the fish, but anyway I knew him well.

JIM BROWN: Just men?

5:00

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, and boys.

JIM BROWN: Women didn’t fool with it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Never did see many women fool with it. That kid and wife of mine’s caught them, since we’ve been married. But you never did see a woman fooling with it back then.

JIM BROWN: Yeah. Was it mainly a sport or did you get enough meat to…

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, it was just a sport. You’d throw them away, give them away, turn them loose, anything, after I catch them.

JIM BROWN: You didn’t eat them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No. Well you can. They’re a good tasting fish, but they’re real bony.

JIM BROWN: You’d never can them or nothing like that?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, we’d – my wife cooked some in a pressure cooker. And then just mashed them out like those salmon—

JIM BROWN: Croquets?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, and they’re real good that way. But when you pressure cook them, it does away with a lot of the meat taste, I meant the fish taste. So I thought about, course I never tried it, but I’m going to – putting them in a food chopper…

JIM BROWN: What, a blender?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, well something on that order – you know, it’s got a handle on it, and in other words you just run it through there like a sausage grinder. 6:00I know you’ve seen them. And just grind it up, you know, not boil them. Try it. Course we haven’t tried it, but we’re going to.

JIM BROWN: I thought maybe it was – some people really needed the food…

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well they do. Lots of people can them.

JIM BROWN: It’s mainly – for you – a sport, huh?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, I don’t go for no other reason. And give them away. Sell them.

JIM BROWN: Yeah.

MOTT LOVEJOY: You might get some of you gas money back that you spent. (laughter)

JIM BROWN: They cost pretty much per pound once you find them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, you maybe sell one… you just sell them maybe a dollar apiece and if he weighs six pounds, you still sell him for a dollar a piece.

JIM BROWN: Is that right? Around here?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. You lay him down there and him still alive and a-bouncing, man, they call them them freshwater fish, they can’t turn it down. They just 7:00have to have them.

JIM BROWN: Yeah, people do it other than, say Bibb County, you know of it being done anywhere else, like…

MOTT LOVEJOY: No – well they do it in Perry County. Course that’s the same rive, on Cahaba River – big Cahaba.

JIM BROWN: I’ve heard about it on – what’s this creek that runs through Helena up here – ah—Buck Creek. Not a very long creek.

MOTT LOVEJOY: I’ve caught them there myself. Near Helena.

JIM BROWN: I’ve been down that river in a canoe, and there’s lots of shoals right through there. Is that what you’re looking for?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Um hmm. If you go down through there in April, you’ll find them.

JIM BROWN: But you don’t know when?

MOTT LOVEJOY: From the 10th to the last of April. Course it depends on, the temperature of the water’s got to be just right, and the weather. And course that has a lot to do with it.

JIM BROWN: What do you look for in the weather? What’d make a good…

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well, the best sign we have is these poplar trees. Whenever they 8:00go to blooming, you know, and just get in full bloom, you can just they’re just always there about it.

JIM BROWN: Ok, tell me how you do it.

MOTT LOVEJOY: I got one out here (he goes in back to get a rig he’d brought in from the shed earlier when I called and said I was coming). I got several of them.

JIM BROWN: You just get as long a pole as you can, and put it on?

9:00

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, the longer the pole the better, cause a lot of them, they get wild. But when they get to the right stage, you can catch them, I don’t care if you pole’s half as long as it should be. They’re gonna bed when you keep the, run off so long. They’re gonna come in there and be then, I don’t’ care what you do to them. I’ve always found it that way.

JIM BROWN: You hit ‘em right, they don’t spook too easy?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: They just sit there while you put this noose over their head?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. You can catch ‘em, oh, the river’ll get muddy, and that don’t stop you from catching them. You can just catch them right on.

JIM BROWN: And you can’t see them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: I’ve caught them it’d be so dark you couldn’t see my pole. You know, at night, when they’d get wild.

JIM BROWN: But you already knew where they were.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. And the river’d get real muddy, and you’d just keep catching ‘em. I didn’t care if it’d get muddy. In fact, when they got wild, it was better when it got muddy; they couldn’t see you. This may not be 10:00the best one in the world, but it’ll give you some idea about it. And that’s a 24 gauge wire.

JIM BROWN: Where do you get that wire?

MOTT LOVEJOY: There’s a long story behind that wire. I got a boy to get that wire that worked at Hays aircraft, and I don’t know… Now you can buy it, but you can’t buy – I meant you can buy wire to do it with, but it’s not a steel wire like this, it’s brass and they’ll break ‘em. He’ll break that, after you fool with it after a while. And see, now, lots of people fish for them with a loop that big.

JIM BROWN: What is that, 6 inches across, or more?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, but that ain’t the kind I use. I’m just showing you what 11:00a lot of people do. But now mine ain’t, not near that big. And he’s there, and a lot of time it’ll go over him that way. And he’ll just run on through it before you realize you’ve got him, see. But I like to pull mine on down this way. Course it takes a little more skill to catch him, the smaller the noose…

JIM BROWN: The less you’re going to get in it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah (laughs). I like to stop it, right where it’ll come in and stop right behind that first fin, set off fins on his head.

JIM BROWN: Now what is that, three inches in diameter?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, 3 ½. I tell you what, to give you a better idea of that, if you just come and watch it, you’ll get a lot more out of it.

JIM BROWN: Well, I was going to ask toward the end of this thing what my odds 12:00would be of coming down with a camera and a cane pole.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, that’d be fine. I got the poles. Yeah, you’ll get a lot more out of it.

JIM BROWN: You got – 3 ½ inch loop, and you got, what 8 inches of wire…

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. Now that wire’s too short, see it’s been broke, and should be twice that long.

JIM BROWN: You need more up there? You need a foot, foot and a half?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Um hmm.

JIM BROWN: And you’ve got it ties on there with a, is this, ah, how much, ah – where’s the end of your pole?

MOTT LOVEJOY: See your pole – you tie that – well it depends on the depth of the water, you know, where you’re fishing. Usually, most times, I’d say they’re in water, say sixteen inches deep.

JIM BROWN: That shallow?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Mhh hmm. And lots of time it’ll be four foot deep. But as a rule they’re in water anywhere from twelve and sixteen, eighteen to two feet deep. 13:00And just say, that’s the end of your pole and he’s there. Add you just pitch it upstream like that and come down. And you don’t have to seem them. And it’ll come over his head and when it…

JIM BROWN: He’s right on the bottom?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, he’s got a bed there.

JIM BROWN: They make little nests like bass, scoop that little hole?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, they make a hole. That’s the reason he’s so hard to catch, he’s down in that hole.

JIM BROWN: And you go real slow then?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, and when that comes over his head, he’ll feel it stop on him, and when it does, you don’t have to jerk him. When he feels it stop on him he’ll take up the slack. And then it’s you and him, then. (laughs) He’ll get you down, out there. Pull you slap down.

JIM BROWN: Really?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Neddie Ruth, do you know anything at all about where that picture is of them redhorse?

NEDDIE RUTH LOVEJOY: Which one?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well I don’t remember which one.

NEDDIE RUTH LOVEJOY: The one that boy from Tuscaloosa used?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, one of them, yeah. We had a sportswriter out of Tuscaloosa 14:00come here one time. It’s been years ago. And he got some pictures. Had the probate judge and a bunch of them out there snaring.

JIM BROWN: You know that sportswriter’s name?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No I don’t. And that’s been years ago.

JIM BROWN: How many years would you say?

MOTT LOVEJOY: It must have been twenty years ago. And I can tell you who, the probate judge was named Stacy. I forgot his first name. Anyway he was there that day, and I was there. Course I wasn’t supposed to have been there, really. He was there with them, but I was already there when they got there, and I wasn’t about to leave (laughs). So I just happened to be there. And Joe McCawley was 15:00another man that was there. He was, well, he worked in the courthouse with him, and I forget whether he was a tax…

JIM BROWN: Was this Bibb County?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. Why Joe McCawley might have been sheriff then; I don’t remember. It’s been so long. But anyway he was…

JIM BROWN: I’d love to see that picture. And get a copy of it.

MOTT LOVEJOY: She’ll find it somewhere, it’s there somewhere. But it’s old. Yeah, if you come down here. Or I’ll let you know.

JIM BROWN: I’d be tickled to death.

MOTT LOVEJOY: These things, I’ve found… that we’ve watch them. Course we don’t know that much about it, what goes on – all we know is what we see, you know, watching them bed. And there’s what they call a horse – and that’s the male fish.

JIM BROWN: They’re different? How do you tell ‘em, they’re different colors?

MOTT LOVEJOY: They’re bigger. And then this mare is the one that lays the 16:00eggs. And those horses will go there and root this bed out. And maybe that’ll go on three or four days before she ever shows up.

JIM BROWN: Can you catch ‘em at that time?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, you can catch ‘em, but they’re harder to catch. But whenever they start, when the mare gets there to lay the eggs, you can watch ‘em. She’ll come in there and stop – bit thing, and then one’ll come in on both sides of her, just like that (holds hands parallel) and she’ll be right between ‘em. And they’ll get right on both sides of ‘em like that, and you’ll see ‘em just go to working, just like that. And you can see the muddy water just a-flying. And then they’ll – what they’re doing, they’re – I don’t know what you call it, I call it sperm, or whatever…

17:00

JIM BROWN: Dropping the milt…

MOTT LOVEJOY: And they’ll squirt it out on those eggs, and that’ll stick it to the rocks and fertilize them. And then they’ll hatch in just a few days. And then they’ll do that and then she’ll drift off and then…

JIM BROWN: They don’t stay with it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, she’ll come back before long, you know, go to drifting back in there. And when she starts in there, you can catch ‘em then. I don’t care if he is wild, he won’t run (laughs).

JIM BROWN: Well, after they get those eggs laid, they don’t stay with them like a bass does, or nothing like that?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, they’re gone, and you can see small fish just eating them – minnows and gars just ease up on the bed and you can see them little old suckers eating them, while you’re fishing. But it’s real interesting. And we had some boys here from – I forgot what county it was, that was in Perry 18:00County – now they was in here when Mr. Carlyle Suttles was game warden, then, when they was here. Course they didn’t fish, we just threw ‘em out on the bank and they’d take care of them then. They was freezing them, carrying them back with ‘em. I forgot where they’s from. But anyway that took place in Perry County, but it was on the small river.

JIM BROWN: Maybe the River Redhorse study mentioned in fn. 130, Missouri fishes? This weight, now, you make this yourself?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah.

JIM BROWN: What’s this tin? Is that a tin?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No, that’s lead…

JIM BROWN: You mold that wire down in there so it’ll slide?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, mm hmm. You can buy ‘em but, you know, one with a ring in it, but the rings too far from the lead and they hold it too far off the bottom. 19:00I like to make my own, get ‘em down…

JIM BROWN: Bout how much is that piece of weight --- one ounce maybe?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Maybe, I doubt it weighing that much.

JIM BROWN: I just can’t believe it doesn’t spook ‘em when you come in with that…

MOTT LOVEJOY: It will whenever they start. They’re wild, when they start. And when they go to finish up, they’re wild. But whenever they get right at the right stage…

JIM BROWN: Nothing moves them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Nothing stops them. I’ve caught, oh, as high as 50 or 60 off one bed, and average three, three and a half pounds apiece.

JIM BROWN: In how long a period?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Oh, maybe eight or ten hours, maybe. Well it just depends on the 20:00stage they’re in. And you go there and fish an half a day and not catch a one, if you don’t catch ‘em right. Course I’m there usually before they start, and still after ‘em after they quit, so I’ll catch ‘em one time or the other.

JIM BROWN: Bound to get ‘em in the middle.

MOTT LOVEJOY: (laughs) Yeah. One way or the other.

JIM BROWN: I’ve come across some… there’s what they used to call this old fish trap, they’d take these dams and dam a river down at an angle, and have these fingers – have you seen them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Mmhmm.

JIM BROWN: How long’s it been since you saw one of those?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well, it was about – about thirty sever, 1937, the last one I saw. Well now the onliest one I ever seen was right above this Bulldog Bend on 21:00around the curve up there, a mile above this Bulldog Bend is where I saw that one. In fact, my daddy and brother was the ones that was fishing it.

JIM BROWN: They ran it?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Mmhmm.

JIM BROWN: Was it illegal?

MOTT LOVEJOY: No – well, it was legal… About these redhorse, now it was legal to gig ‘em back when they started, my daddy and them was doing it. Well back when they started it you could gig ‘em but you couldn’t snare ‘em. Now it’s just the reverse.

JIM BROWN: How big was this fish trap that they ran – how wide was the mouth of it? Eight, ten feet, maybe?

22:00

MOTT LOVEJOY: It’s been so long. Well anyway it depends on the size of the river and the place where it is, and everything. Now you getting back to being legal: it was legal to fish ‘em, providing you had the fingers…

JIM BROWN: First it started out half-inch wide, and then got to two inches wide…

MOTT LOVEJOY: …and the river’d get up, and they was going to have some big water, they’d go there and add some more fingers, see? And put some more between ‘em. But it was legal up to a certain size, I forget which: but anyway…

JIM BROWN: These old fishermen I talked to say it got so that you let a fish four or five pounds get through, wasn’t much profit to it. You know, you weren’t catching much. .

MOTT LOVEJOY: Not, but it was legal, providing you… Now we’ve had a game warden here a Oden – Virgil Randolph. He come in this country. Course Mr. 23:00Carlyle Suttle, he’s been here ever since I can remember. Course he’s retired now, but… This fellow was working with him, and he said he believed he had some literature would outlaw that, when he walked up there with Mr. Suttle. Now he was __________?, Mr. Suttle. And he was working under Mr. Suttle. And he never did come up with it. Mr. Suttle told him, he said, why hell, fellow, these folks been doing this all their lives. Course, he was talking to the other fellow.

MOTT LOVEJOY: There’s no trouble to finding them when they start, cause you can see them a long ways. Course you don’t see the fish, you just see the river where they’ve made their beds there and the gravel is so much brighter, it really stands out. You don’t have no trouble at all seeing it.

JIM BROWN: Really? How about seeing the fish?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well you don’t have no trouble seeing them, neither.

JIM BROWN: And they – you know, I’ve seen them, like going down the river in a boat, you can see those red fins sticking out when they get close to you, but – when they’re on the nest, do they show up different from the bottom?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well that red fin’s what you look for, really. You know, unless you can just see the whole fish. Well it really stands out. And if you’ll stand there, they’ll whip in and out of one another like that, and you can see the ripples on top. You know, it’s fairly shallow. Course if it’s deep, they don’t make no movement on top of the water, but…

JIM BROWN: Well, I’ve got to do this.

MOTT LOVEJOY: They’ll break that thing. They’re not so bad about breaking it if they go up or down or come to you, but if you’ve got your pole straight out there and you catch him and he goes straight from you, see, there’s no give to it and then he’ll pop it and you can hear it pop just like a sewing thread. And that thing’ll just – and you can get it in your hands, and you can’t pull it in two with your hands – and he’ll break it just like sewing thread. Of course, he’s got to be going just right. But they’ll break it. You’ll get about, I’ll say, two out of every ten you get a lot of. Now they’re just that smart. They’ll get out of it. It’ll slip off one end or the other, especially if you can’t see him. If you get it on him and know when it gets just to the right place on him, to tighten up on him, you can do a better job but if you’re just fishing in the blind, blind fishing I call it, he’s hard to catch. He’s hard to hold when you get a hold of him.

24:00

JIM BROWN: You have to keep him from getting slack?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah, if you ever give him any slack at all he’s just gone, unless, you know, it happened to come up – I try to make mine, the reason I said a loop about that size (3 ½ inch) where it’ll stop right against that first set of fins, and then his gills is right there too, you know.

JIM BROWN: Catch behind the gills?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah…

JIM BROWN: Looks like to me it’d be easier to catch it on his tail.

MOTT LOVEJOY: No; well you’ll get ‘em right by the tail. It’ll sip off of him, and maybe just draw his tail up in a wad just like that and you’ll catch him that close (one inch) to the end of his tail. Or you’ll catch him right around that little old snout on his nose, you know how that thing comes out there and hooks over? You’ll get him in like that a lot of times.

JIM BROWN: And you’ll get him in like that?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yeah. He’ll look funny, when you get him that away (laughs). 25:00It’s interesting.

JIM BROWN: I tell you, if you can catch fish like that (laughing)

MOTT LOVEJOY: And he’ll get you down, out there in that swift water, now. Well, course, the water’s trying to wash gravel out from under your feet, you know how every time you move the water will wash the gravel out from under your feet. And you’re trying to hold him, and in a strain, and maybe he’ll go around this away, and then you can’t turn as fast as he’s going around, and then, it’ll just get you down. They’ll do me, I’ve had a many a one just get me down and wet me all over, and I didn’t turn him a loose.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Oh, I caught – one night Uncle Morgan and Daddy and Uncle Morgan’s youngest boy were there, down – well that was down close to the mouth of the little river where it runs into the Cahaba. And it was cool that night. And I had an old green pole. You usually 26:00tried to fish with a dry pole, you know, on account of the thing, you have to hold it out on the end, and it just gets heavy. And they’d been wild that day and they’d just got right at the right stage, they fished. And a carbide lamp – did you ever see one?

JIM BROWN: Um unh, I’ve never used one; but I’ve heard they’re better than a flashlight because they cast a broad beam.

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well it’s broader, too, but they just blend in the water better, too. They just blend in the water better. Well they’re not as bright a light.

JIM BROWN: Do you still use one?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Mm hmmm. And I caught – well I got out there and cut me a pole – you know, green. And them things got so tame there that I was just holding the light with one hand and fishing with the one hand, just had my pole choked up you know, and had part of it sticking back behind me, and it wasn’t so heavy then, you know, with it balanced in your hand. And they was on the bank asleep; now I couldn’t get them in there; but it was cool. I’d catch them things like that, and I just threw them out there all night long. I caught one 27:00after a while, and instead of him going up and down the river, or out, he just come right back between my feet with it, you know. Well naturally he just broke my pole when he just doubled it up. Being a green pole, it just, you know, broke it down, but it didn’t break it completely off. And when he broke it, I seen what happened, and I just turned and run with him, and just like a mule pulling a wagon or something, and run out on him. Then I had to quit, I just went out here then and went to bed. And then, I had them in a – well I caught thirty two that night there weight one hundred twenty pounds. That’d give you some idea about what size there are. Course that was in Little Cahaba, but now they get bigger than that in big Cahaba.

JIM BROWN: That’s averaging four pounds apiece.

MOTT LOVEJOY: They were thirty two weighed one hundred twenty pounds.

JIM BROWN: How long did it take you to catch them?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Well, that night. Caught ‘em that night. They had ‘em in a – did you ever see what they call an onion sack? Well it’s a sack that looks 28:00like, well it’s real cheap stuff.

JIM BROWN: Got mesh, kind of like a net?

MOTT LOVEJOY: Yes, mm hmm. When it gets wet, well it’s build out of paper, really. And I had some in that thing. And it was a spring there right in the edge of the water, and I took me some mud and stuff and built me a dam there, you know, and just turned me loose over in there. And I went there to pick them up out of the – I had them all in a sack. Man, there was a load of them in there. And I went to pick that thing up. Yeah, and the whole bottom just fell out of it, right there. Well there they was, right in that spring, the dam tore out and everything. There they was, right there, all loose, that same night, the next morning. Well I didn’t know what I was gonna do, and I just fell down there and just fell right down in there and just rolled them up (demonstrates, spread eagled with chin on water) like that and held them until daddy and them picked every one of them up. We didn’t lose one of them.

29:00

JIM BROWN: When would that have been? How many years ago?

MOTT LOVEJOY: That was back, oh, 1952, 1953, somewhere along in there. There’s not many people do it. Like I say, back in the 1940s, you couldn’t fish for people. And now these old people that’s done so much of it have just drifted away and died and moved off, and they’s just not many folks that do it no more.

0:00 - Generational Change Over Time

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Partial Transcript: "It wasn’t only the Indians that had things like this. Now people back, I’d say, well back in my daddy and your daddy’s lifetime, they had to cope with just such stuff as this to survive. And I know we did."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy and Jim Brown discuss societal and lifestyle changes that took place over the span of their father and grandfathers' lives.They specifically refer to the growing prevalence of the automobile.

Keywords: car

Subjects:

0:53 - Family History of Redhorse Snaring

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Partial Transcript: "Anyway, I was wanting to get on this snaring redhorse thing. I got kind of an idea of how it’s done from the other Mr. Lovejoy."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy discusses when and where his father learned to snare redhorse fish and how they would go on overnight fishing trips together. He also mentions the large number of male friends and family members who would fish at the same time and place as him.

Keywords: 1913; bed; Bulldog Bend; Cahaba River; Morgan Lovejoy; Randolph, Alabama; redhorse; snaring

Subjects:

5:12 - Food or Fun

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Partial Transcript: "Yeah, it was just a sport. You’d throw them away, give them away, turn them loose, anything, after I catch them."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy explains that although redhorse fish can be eaten, he usually just fishes for sport. He also sells the fish he catches.

Keywords: food; pressure cooker; sport

Subjects:

7:04 - When and Where to Find the Redhorse

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Partial Transcript: "No – well they do it in Perry County. Course that’s the same rive, on Cahaba River – big Cahaba."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy discusses the different places to snare redhorse and when to find them. Generally they can be found in April when the poplar blossoms are in full bloom.

Keywords: April; Bibb County, Alabama; Buck Creek; Cahaba River; Helena, Alabama; Little Cahaba River; Perry County, Alabama; poplar; Shelby County, Alabama

Subjects:

8:26 - How to Catch a Redhorse

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Partial Transcript: "Yeah, the longer the pole the better, cause a lot of them, they get wild. But when they get to the right stage, you can catch them, I don’t care if your pole’s half as long as it should be. They’re gonna bed when you keep the, run off so long. They’re gonna come in there and be then, I don’t care what you do to them. I’ve always found it that way."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy explains how to catch a redhorse and the equipment necessary.

Keywords: hole; noose; pole; rig; wire

Subjects:

13:40 - A Picture of Visitors Who Came to Snare

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Partial Transcript: "Yeah, one of them, yeah. We had a sportswriter out of Tuscaloosa come here one time. It’s been years ago. And he got some pictures. Had the probate judge and a bunch of them out there snaring."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy talks about a picture of when a sportswriter, a probate judge, and some other visitors came to snare redhorse.

Keywords: Joe McCawley; probate judge; sheriff; Stacy; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, sportswriter

Subjects:

15:39 - Redhorse Egg-Laying in Relation to Snaring

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Partial Transcript: "These things, I’ve found. . .that we’ve watch them. Course we don’t know that much about it, what goes on – all we know is what we see, you know, watching them bed. And there’s what they call a horse – and that’s the male fish."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy explains the redhorse egg-laying process and how it relates to snaring. He also discusses using weights for fishing.

Keywords: bed; Carlyle Suttles; egg; Perry County, Alabama; weight

Subjects:

20:26 - The Legality of Fish Traps

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Partial Transcript: "Well, it was about – about thirty seven, 1937, the last one I saw. Well now the onliest one I ever seen was right above this Bulldog Bend on around the curve up there, a mile above this Bulldog Bend is where I saw that one. In fact, my daddy and brother was the ones that was fishing it."

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy discusses the historic use of fish traps and how they are now illegal.

Keywords: 1937; Bulldog Bend; Carlyle Suttle; dam; fingers; fish trap; legal; Virgil Randolph

Subjects:

23:27 - How to Find Redhorse and More on the Snaring Process

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Partial Transcript: "There’s no trouble to finding them when they start, cause you can see them a long ways. Course you don’t see the fish, you just see the river where they’ve made their beds there and the gravel is so much brighter, it really stands out. You don’t have no trouble at all seeing it."

Segment Synopsis: According to Mott Lovejoy, it is not difficult to spot the redhorse fins in the water. He also gives more specific details on how to catch the redhorse.

Keywords:

Subjects:

26:44 - 1950's Fishing Story

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Partial Transcript: "Oh, I caught – one night Uncle Morgan and Daddy and Uncle Morgan’s youngest boy were there, down – well that was down close to the mouth of the little river where it runs into the Cahaba. And it was cool that night. And I had an old green pole. You usually tried to fish with a dry pole, you know, on account of the thing, you have to hold it out on the end, and it just gets heavy. And they’d been wild that day and they’d just got right at the right stage, they fished. And a carbide lamp – did you ever see one?"

Segment Synopsis: Mott Lovejoy tells a story from the early 1950's that exemplifies how heavy the fish were.

Keywords: Cahaba River; carbide lamp; green pole; Little Cahaba River; onion sack

Subjects:

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